Local artist Chris Monroe presented an Artist Dialogue at the Duluth Art Institute on Thursday night and drew a pretty big turnout. (Meanwhile, photographer Wing Young Huie was speaking at the “Race” reception near the Children’s Museum and Allie’s Picks, an exhibition curated by Allie Melander for Veteran’s Memorial Hall, was also getting an opening reception. Add to that “Boeing Boeing” playing at the Playhouse and, whoa. Packed Depot and a solid assortment of snacks).
Here are a few things Monroe, the artist behind “Violet Days” and “Monkey With a Tool Belt,” said about her work:
* She has done both art-art and commercial art and has the same approach to both. She said that she “tries to elevate even the lowliest stuff to art.”
* Her upcoming book “Cookie the Walker” comes out in the spring of 2013. This is about a dog that walks on his hind legs.
* She tries not to think about the audience, especially when working on her comic. Also: Her comic is completed a week at a time. There is no stock pile that she dips into on deadline day. It runs in the Star Tribune the week before it runs in the News Tribune.
* FYI: “Violet Days” has been running for 582 weeks. Monroe might retire it at the 20 year mark.
* Monroe is a fan of Pierre Bernard, Red Grooms, Wayne White, Gary Baseman and Lynda Barry. Writer-wise, she digs Donna Tartt.
* Monroe recently collaborated on a book with storyteller Kevin Kling and it looks like they’ll be joining forces again.
* Monroe said she likes things that are cute, but not too cute. The painting of a woman and a window on a dark night with a Kewpie doll face peeking inside was born of Monroe’s idea: What if the thing peeking in the window was adorable? Also: She was surprised by the lack of skeletons appearing in the work she created for the show at the DAI.
Monroe’s exhibition runs through Saturday at the Duluth Art Institute.